Pound raps Fifa stance on drug cheats

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The Independent Online

Dick Pound, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, has attacked Fifa's reluctance to sign up to a worldwide code on drugs and claimed that football may be helping cheats back into the game.

Pound reiterated a threat that if football's world governing body has not signed the Wada code by the summer there will be no football at the Athens Olympics. "It makes it sound like they are actively looking for ways to put cheaters back into play," he said.

"The ball is in Fifa's court. The IOC [International Olympic Committee] has amended the Olympic charter so that only sports which have adopted and implemented the world anti-doping code can be on the Olympic programme. If they don't sign they don't have to bother coming to Athens.

"Where is the moral outrage that here's somebody who has deliberately cheated in order to improve their performance?" he asked. "It's not like a guy was captured by Nazi frogmen and injected against his will."

Fifa and the governing body of international cycling, UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), are reluctant to sign up to an automatic two-year ban for any athlete who uses performance-enhancers, but Pound insisted there was scope for every case to be treated on its own merits.

"There is not an automatic two-year sanction for a first offence. That could not be clearer in the code. You also have to consider the circumstances of each individual case . That has been there since the beginning," he said. "I don't know what the stumbling block is. It makes me wonder whether or not these people can read."

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